Happy Algarve 2017

New years eve on the beach was a bit of a trial with all the sun, surf, crowds and all but we were stoic and brave and walked and cycled along the beach east of Lagos.


In Dawlish where we used to live, there are signs warning visitors not to feed the seagulls.  Here perhaps there ought to be a warning to tourists not to feed the turnstones.  They are not at all shy and when we sat down on the rocks for a picnick they were all over us scrounging bits of cheese and bread.  (They would NOT eat tomato though.)



I have become fascinated by the many disused irrigation devices abandoned around the Algarve,  There is little about them on the internet apart from a few photographs.  The interesting thing to me is that they all seem to have been abandoned relatively recently.  The Chain pumps are constructed of cast iron and galvanised steel and sit upon concrete walled wells.  Many of them seem to be in an almost usable state.  A squirt of WD40 and a scrub with a wire brush and you could be pumping water in 10 minutes.  All you would need would be a ……….DONKEY. well

The arm on the right was connected to your donkey (or  team of small children?) which would walk round and round powering the device.


I cannot imagine that anything so antiquated would have been used in my lifetime in the UK and I can remember my Dad telling me about his first job as an apprentice in the King and Barnes brewery in Horsham maintaining diesel powered pumps in the 1930s. Yet these Algarve pumps were working perhaps 20 years ago – donkeys and all.

We were in the city of Lagos to witness the celebrations for the new year as I love fireworks especially the really loud ones! During the afternoon on New Years Eve we watched the expert team assemble what looked like military grade fireworks on the opposite bank of the river.  (No need to guess where the main man hid his his box of matches.)


We left it late to wander in to town and arrived at about 10:30 thinking we would have to press through the crowds to get a good view but the streets were nearly empty but the roundabouts were well signposted.


We had underestimate the lateness that the Portuguese people dine.  Resaurants were full – streets empty.  We bought a beer and a cone of chips each and wandered in to the square where they had put up a stage for the rock concert.


Just before midnight we sat on the river wall opposite the launch site with the thousands of people that had by then turned up, popped our bottle of fizzy wine and waited for the countdown and fireworks.  – They were goodish but not the best I hav seen.


Happy New Year to all.


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